While the state of Rhode Island has offered legal sports betting for the better part of a year now, mobile options have been unavailable until now. On Wednesday, Rhode Island’s Lottery officially released their mobile betting application, providing the state’s first mobile betting platform.
The mobile app requires bettors to first register in-person in Lincoln at Twin River Casino, but they are then free to make mobile wagers from any location within Rhode Island. Twin River Casino’s Lincoln location is currently the only place where bettors can register, but their Tiverton casino will also permit registration for the state’s mobile betting app.
This is important because the Tiverton casino is practically right next to the state’s border with Massachusetts, in which sports betting is still currently illegal. It may not be extremely convenient, but residents of Boston can now make an hour trip southwest over the border to place a legal sports wager once they’ve registered in-person.
Because Rhode Island is such a small state, Connecticut locals are also in a position to make a fairly reasonable drive and place a mobile bet. An executive director for Twin River Casinos, Joe Franklin, mentions that a good number of their wagers are actually made by residents of both Massachusetts and Connecticut.
With the recent availability of mobile betting, sports wagering becomes much more reasonable for those living in Rhode Island’s bordering states. When mobile sports betting is offered in a state, most wagers are in fact placed from a mobile application or online. Like other states offering mobile sports betting, Rhode Island’s app will enforce the requirement to be within the state with geocaching.
Much of the Rhode Island Lottery’s motivation to release the mobile app comes from the need to compensate for lost gambling revenue. The deficit is a result of new casinos being opened in neighboring state, Massachusetts, taking away from slot-machine and table-game earnings.
The timing from Twin River Casino could not be better with the NFL tipping off the regular season this week. The NBA’s regular season will also be starting next month. Especially with the state’s inability to meet sports betting revenue predictions, this offers a great chance to catch up.
Trouble on the horizon?
Mobile sports betting is now legal in Rhode Island, but there’s a chance that a lawsuit may disrupt this. Daniel Harrop, a previous candidate for mayor, has filed the suit on the grounds that the legalization of mobile betting must actually receive approval by public vote.
The Rhode Island Lottery doesn’t seem very worried by the lawsuit though, claiming that Harrop is neither financially impacted by the legalization of mobile sports betting, nor does he reside in either city housing a Twin River Casino location. There will be another hearing in a week to discuss the case, but mobile sports betting currently has the green light in Rhode Island, at least for now.